The experiences and preparedness of family carers for best interest decision-making of a relative living with advanced dementia: A qualitative study

Gillian Carter*, Dorry McLaughlin, George Kernohan, Peter Hudson, Michael Clarke, Katherine Froggatt, Anthony Passmore, Kevin Brazil

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)
360 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Aim: To explore the experience and the preparedness of family carers in their caregiving role as best interest decision-makers of a relative living with advanced dementia.

Background: The prevalence of dementia is a global issue. The role of being a carer of a relative living with dementia does not necessarily lessen once they are admitted to a nursing home. Best interest decision-making including end-of-life care decisions need to be made and reaching these choices can be challenging. The preparedness of family carers in this role needs greater understanding.

Design: Descriptive qualitative study

Methods: During 2015 twenty semi-structured interviews were conducted of family carers of nursing home residents living with advanced dementia, then analysed using Braun and Clarke’s thematic analysis.

Results: Three themes were identified: (1) Caring for someone living with dementia. The impact on the carer’s holistic well-being and their experience of being a best interest decision-maker; (2) Accessing support. The influential nature of formal and informal networks; (3) Perceived knowledge and understanding of the dementia trajectory of carers and nursing staff.

Conclusion: The experiences and preparedness of informal carers is a reflection of their personal response, but the distress experienced highlights the significant need of adequate support availability and of enhancing nursing staffs’ dementia expertise to maximise their role in facilitating best interest decision-making. This has significant implications for nursing practice and for service user and nursing staff education. Considering the global impact of dementia our findings have international relevance for similar nursing homes across the world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1595-1604
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Advanced Nursing
Volume74
Issue number7
Early online date30 Mar 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018

Keywords

  • carers
  • decision-making
  • dementia
  • end-of-life care
  • nurse education
  • nursing
  • nursing home care

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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